Facebook Shows its Hand in Privacy

I spoke earlier how I didn’t buy the claims against Mark Zuckerberg trying to steal away our privacy and con people into becoming more public if they didn’t chose to do so. Today Facebook made that even more clear in a press conference I attended by phone by stating their intentions, and introducing an even newer, more simplified, more granular privacy control model that launches today.

The new settings enable, via simple controls, for users to chose at a high level whether they just want friends to see their data, whether they want friends of friends to see their data, or whether they want to customize that data at a piece-by-piece level.  Users that set this will then default to this setting with any new feature Facebook releases in the future, making users able to be confident their privacy will not change.  In addition, Facebook is enabling users to opt out of the “Instant Personalization” settings completely.  Instant Personalization enables third party websites that have partnered with Facebook to, with the user’s ability to opt out, collect user information with the intent to make the experience for that user more personalized and more relevant on each site that implements these controls.  Users will be able to opt out of this completely, and also set granular controls as to how applications have control over their privacy.  Users will also be able to control how people see them in the Facebook search and directory much better with the new settings.

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s CEO and founder, had a sincere tone at the press conference, wanting to be absolute sure they had no ill will, nor intentions to sell user data to advertisers, or disrespect user privacy in the process.  He was very clear that along with allowing people and helping them to be more open and share better, Facebook held the same priority towards enabling users to have complete control over how public, or private that data was as they used the site.  He admitted they rushed to launch their previous features and hoped that this new round of more simplified settings made it easier to understand what users were getting into, and at the same time allowed them to set specific settings to their comfort level on the site.

I think Facebook laid down to rest any concerns users have had about privacy.  They showed their hand, and, while a Full House at Facebook, I think those that just quit Facebook over privacy will be forced to fold.

Facebook will be gradually rolling out the new settings to all users starting today.  If you’re in Utah, be sure to watch Fox 13 KSTU at 5:30pm and 9pm (you can watch online here) for more as I discuss these new settings with Nineveh Dinha.  I’ll try to post those videos later.  See screenshots of the new settings below:

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13 thoughts on “Facebook Shows its Hand in Privacy

  1. A step in the right direction, far from perfect though. Question is: Would they have changed anything if we hadn't railed against the original version for going on 5 weeks? More than 2-3 weeks is a long time for a story to stay around in the current news media cycle…

    BTW, ReadWriteWeb disagrees with your take: http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/the_half_t

    I still say let's have a privacy symposium where nothing is off limits, and Zuck can really lay out and really argue his entire “vision”, which is still feels largely convoluted to me:

    …he said “the company made these most recent changes because they thought it was the right thing to do.” There goes that non-specific, Orwellian language again…

    Like

  2. I was in the channel when Leo Laporte challenged everyone to do it, and several people came back reporting theirs had been deleted. Why would that be? Who am I to believe, Facebook PR or Facebook citizens? There is really no way to verify either party.

    Like

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